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New Mexico and the legalization of marijuana debate

As a whole, the nation has seen a gradual change in the ways it views certain illegal substances. Perhaps reaching the biggest spotlight, marijuana has been the focal topic of debate in recent years. While some New Mexico residents fear a costly fee or even time behind bars, laws in the state appear to be shifting. 

Views may differ on the matter, but one aspect is clear: laws have seen recent modifications. The Marijuana Policy Project reported last week that, earlier this month, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller signed an ordinance that may make a huge impact on some residents; the ordinance decriminalized simple possession of marijuana under Albuquerque law. Many consider this move to be a major step forward, but MMP points out that the state nevertheless enforces harsh penalties when it comes to possession for non-medical purposes. Those caught with an ounce or less of marijuana could face up to $100 in fees and up to 15 days in jail. 

Although New Mexico's marijuana laws are not as harsh as those in other states, the penalties are enough to make a lasting effect on a person's reputation. KRQE News reported last December that lawmakers have been grappling with legalizing marijuana in the state, and that the major challenge involved pushing legalization to the ballot for voters themselves to decide. Aiming to follow suit after numerous states have jumped on board, State Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino hopes to see legalization boost the state's economy. Forward movement may seem slow, but KRQE adds that the senator aims to persuade other lawmakers to join him in his efforts. It may only be a matter of time before New Mexico joins the trend in legalizing marijuana for both medical and recreational use. 



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